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With This Fling
By Jeanie London
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE INSTANT MAC GERARD touched her, he knew he'd made a big mistake. Awareness caught him fast and hard like a sucker punch, and he didn't want to walk away from their argument as much as he wanted to kiss her.
So, God help him, he did.
Her eyes widened a split second before his mouth came down on hers and he steeled himself for her reaction - knowing this woman, she'd likely draw her gun and shoot him.
But something happened, some thing he'd never felt before.
Not run-of-the-mill desire. Not even hot-under-the-collar passion. This was need. Sharp. Potent. Consuming. He wanted to absorb her, press their bodies close until they fused into one.
He didn't seem to be the only one experiencing the phenomenon, either, because she didn't go for her gun, she melted against him, all her curves catching him in exactly the right places. Her lips parted on a gasp and she slipped her arms around his neck to pull him harder into their kiss.
Mac caught the taste of her with his mouth, drank in her scent on a breath. He kissed her with an urgency that was closer to making him lose control than any argument they'd ever had at work. And that was saying a lot. He wanted to inhale her through his pores, feel her body unfold around him, underneath him, with an intensity that shocked him to the core.
This was Harley Price ... the gun-toting, karate-kicking, too-competent private investigator who'd been making his life hell ever since he'd walked through the door of his new job.
Then it hit him, and Mac finally understood the real problem between them. It wasn't just a clash of personalities or a power struggle between two strong wills.
They were attracted to each other, big time.
And as the feel of her body imprinted itself on his, as the taste of her sweet mouth filtered through his senses, Mac knew he was in more trouble than he'd ever been in his life.
Because the only way he could fix the problem was to get this woman naked in bed.
"WITH THIS RING, I'd be dead," Harley Price whispered to no one in particular.
She'd once heard that the best reason to get married was the promise of around-the-clock orgasms. While she understood the appeal, an orgasm would have to register double digits on the Richter scale before she'd suffer this kind of torture.
This torture was the reception line at a wedding. As one of the very last guests to pass through, she greeted the new Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Sinclair, side by side in their first official performance as husband and wife.
They looked giddy. Every happy cliche
'she'd ever heard applied to them, from the way they seemed to be floating on air to the way they glowed. They smiled in unison and acted as though every guest at their wedding was a close friend.
The fact that the new Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Sinclair looked as though they'd stepped off the cover of a romance novel might have had something to do with the impression, too. They'd dressed in costumes reflecting the fashion of two centuries earlier. Admittedly, the costumes worked with the surroundings, as this wedding was taking place at an antebellum plantation.
"Best of luck," Harley said, wishing the newlyweds a lifetime of around-the-clock bliss. Technically she wouldn't have even come to this wedding if her boss hadn't insisted she make an appearance as a professional courtesy. But she'd come. She'd wished them well. Now she was out of here.
Moving beyond the reception line, Harley unscrewed her smile and fled for the nearest exit. Veering away from the tables, where gleaming china and exquisite floral arrangements beckoned guests, she slipped out of the ballroom.
She emerged in the hall, an octagonal rotunda that rose three stories above her, all curving staircases and high-luster balustrades. A crystal chandelier graciously illuminated her way to the exit and she measured her paces so her heels didn't tap loudly across the wooden floor.
She hadn't made the front exit when a female voice called out, "I told Josh you'd run for it if we took our eyes off you."
Harley groaned at the sight of the red-sequined bridesmaid emerging from the ballroom. Unfortunately, this wasn't just any bridesmaid - this was Lennon Eastman, her boss's wife.
And just her luck, her boss filed out the door right behind her. Josh was scowling and Harley scowled back, disliking his wife intensely at the moment - no easy feat considering Lennon was an absolute doll. Well-bred, confident and poised, she was also tall, blond and beautiful - as close to Harley's ideal of society perfection as any woman could possibly get.
And there was nothing like standing in the shadow of a socialite to make her feel underdressed, no matter how stylish her gown.
"You didn't drive all the way down here to sit through the wedding and miss the fun?" Josh asked.
"You told me to attend the wedding. I did."
Josh exchanged a glance with his wife and Harley knew trouble when she saw it. As a licensed private investigator, her observation skills were more developed than most, but she could have been blind in one eye and still recognized that these two meant business. The big question was why? What difference did it make if she showed up at the reception or not?
Better not to ask. She was already treading thin ice with her boss. A dark-haired man in his mid-thirties, Josh Eastman seemed more at home getting down and dirty with the bad guys than he did tuxed up in his Garden District persona. At least to her, anyway. Harley had known him for nearly seven years - long before she'd come to work for him.
Excerpted from With This Fling by Jeanie London Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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